Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Personal Gethsemane

At some point in life, everyone must experience their own personal Gethsemane. For the Savior, this meant experiencing the most excruciating pain ever felt as He suffered for all the pain and sin in the world. For the Savior, this meant experiencing Satan head on and reaching a breaking point where He wanted to give up. For us, this is when we experience those times where we are in such suffering that we are on the brink of life. It's when we feel as if everything in our life is going wrong. It's when we feel completely lost and absolutely alone. It's when we can't see the way out and have completely lost all hope.  For us, our Gethsemane is the nights spent crying because we feel like it'd be easier if we simply just disappeared. 

Although this event that we call our Gethsemane may be different for everyone, that doesn't mean that one person's pain and suffering is worse than another's. But no matter what it is, this event will lead you to a point in your life where you must decide which path to take. You can take the easy way out, which is turning away from Christ, thinking He has turned away from you. Or, you can use your own personal Gethsemane to rely solely on Christ and put your life in His hands. By putting your life in His hands, you learn that Christ will never turn His back on you because He loves you and He has a plan for you. And just as Heavenly Father's plan involved Christ suffering unimaginable pain in Gethsemane, there are times in our life where pain is a part of the plan. 

So what do we do with this pain? What is its purpose in our lives? Well, over the last few months, I have experienced what I believe to be one of my own personal Gethsemane's and I have learned that from our pain and from our tribulation can come the most beautiful testimony and understanding of our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ. My Gethsemane has taught me that no matter how dark things are, there is always light. No matter how bad things seem, there is always good. No matter how broken you are, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can and WILL heal you. I have learned that because Christ suffered His Gethsemane completely alone, we do not have to suffer ours alone. Christ knows. He perfectly understands every single thing you've ever gone through and He has felt every single pain you've ever felt. He is there and He is waiting for you to come to Him. I have learned that if you let it, your own personal Gethsemane will make you stronger than you ever believed you could be. It will make you realize that there is ALWAYS a light and there is ALWAYS hope because Christ is the light and Christ is our hope. I have learned that just as Christ knew that His Father would be there for Him and that eventually the day would come when He would no longer have to feel the pain's and suffering's of this world, we too will experience our own days where everything comes together. We just need to be patient enough to allow God to give us the experiences we need to have in order to learn the things of this world and draw nearer unto Him. I wouldn't trade my personal Gethsemane for anything because I have learned more about myself and this gospel during this time than I have in any other time in my life. I have learned to pray the hardest when it is the hardest to pray. I have learned that Christ's atonement is available to all and it will heal you. I have learned that I am never alone.

So when you face your own personal Gethsemane, remember that there is a way out and HE IS THE WAY! Christ will guide you through every trail and tribulation no matter how excruciating the pain or how lost you may feel. Don't allow yourself to get trapped in the darkness the comes from losing sight of Christ and believing Satan's lies that things will never get better. Because no matter the trial, the day will come when the pain will be lifted and you will be rewarded for your obedience and endurance. Remember that you are never alone and someone does understand because someone has already experienced this pain. Draw nearer unto Christ and He will draw nearer unto you. 

The path of salvation always goes through Gethsemane. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Never Give Up

The last year of my life has been complete hell. Yes, I realize that there are people out there with no food, water, shelter, or other necessities that I tend to take for granted. I know there are people who are losing loved ones and are without families. So let me rephrase that, the last year of my life has been complete personal hell. My entire life, I have struggled to trust people around me. I have always been an extremely kind, giving, and selfless person and it has tended to get me used a lot of times in my life. I cannot count the times that I have been taken for granted, abandoned, walk on, or used. But, through all those times throughout my life I got through it because my ultimate goal in life has been for others to be happy. But this last year was different. Throughout this last year, I have experienced more heartbreak, abandonment, betrayal, disloyalty, and pain than I ever have before. It started at the New Year when a silly boyfriend who cheated on me broke my heart. It was so sad, but I always knew things would be okay. I knew I would learn to trust again and I knew I would find a way to love again. That’s when the next boy came along. It was February 2015. He was like my knight in shining armor, a new light brought into my dark life. He loved me more than anyone ever has and cared for me deeper than I’ve ever been cared for before. Our time together meant more to me than any other time I’ve spent with any other person. I moved over 200 miles away from all my friends and family to be with him in May and when he proposed in July, I had never been happier. Seeing the man I loved more than anyone in the world down on one knee with the most beautiful ring in his hand, realizing he was mine for eternity was the most overwhelming and joyful experience I had ever had. I had never experienced such happiness. And, I thought that was it. I would never have to experience heartbreak like I had previously in my life and I had finally found my true prince charming. But then, 2 months later on September 5, my prince charming shattered me into a million pieces. Once you’re engaged, the thought of breaking up doesn’t even cross your mind. You’ve done it, you’ve found the one that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with and you don’t have to worry anymore. You can settle in, put down roots, and become comfortable. The trust issues I had been struggling with my entire life and the walls I had built up could now come down. And that’s what I’d done. I had invested my entire heart and trust, something I had never fully done before, into this man I thought I would spend eternity with. And when he walked away, I had never been so caught of guard, but I wasn’t just going to let all that go so I fought with everything I had in me. But, in the end, it wasn’t enough. He broke every promise he’d made to me and walked away from the life we were supposed to have together. The next 3 months were full of heart breaking moments that made me relive the pain over and over. Within weeks, he had a new girl in his life and a few more weeks after that they were officially together and I officially could not take it anymore. My heart was broken, but it was more than that because I was broken. There were mornings and nights when I could hardly breathe because of the intense pain in my chest. There were days that lasted weeks and weeks that lasted years. Once a person has their heart ripped out the way I have, something in them changes. A switch flips that permanently puts up walls and doesn’t ever intend on letting them down. The trust issues increase to an unimaginably high number. And their faith that everything is going to “be okay” goes away. Once a person has experienced the kind of abandonment and pain I have, they change. They’re not as open or outgoing. They stay to themselves because being alone is better than the thought of being hurt again. I’m different now because of the things I’ve been through, and I just have to learn to go on throughlife this way. The last year of my life has changed everything about me. Everything I thought I knew about others and myself have been flipped upside down and the only constant thing I have been able to rely on is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t mean I always relied on it. I had moments of overwhelming doubt and times when I didn’t feel the love of my Savior at all. I’m not proud to admit it but over the course of those 3 months, I had times when I went as far as doubting the existence of my Savior and the truthfulness of this church. However, without the church as a constant in my life, I would not be here today. Without the gospel in my life I would not be able to get through this trial that I am currently facing. The atonement of Christ has offered more life, love, hope, peace, and comfort, than anyone or anything in this world could give me. The words of the scriptures bring more hope than one could ever imagine. Being able to talk to my Father in Heaven every day brings me the glimpses of happiness that let me know that things can and will be okay again. I can’t see it right now, but because of my Savior Jesus Christ, I know that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel that I am in. The last year of my life has tried me in ways that I never thought I could over come.  The last year of my life has hurt me in ways that I did not think were even possible. The last year of my life has broken and bent me in ways that I did not think one could recover from. But, because of this gospel and because of this church, I have been able to over come, to defeat the impossible, and recover from all pain. Yes, this has been the hardest year of my life, but it has also been the year that I have truly learned how amazing and wonderful and beautiful this gospel is. This last year has shown me a depth of the light of Christ that I didn’t know existed and that is why I am thankful for everything that I have been through in the last year of my life.  So my advice to you is never give up and never quit. Because even if you can’t see it, even if you’re life is so dark you are contemplating not living it anymore, I have been there and I promise you there is a light. And He is the light. Find Him, reach out to Him, and He will grab you by the hand and carry you out of the darkness. He will never let you be alone. He loves you and you are His. 

So the reason I tell you all of this is simply to say that no matter what you've been through, no matter what your personal hell is, don't stop trying. There is a light at the end of the tunnel even if you can't see it. The reason I tell you all of this is best explained by the words of Jeffrey R. Holland "Don't you give up, don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. It will all be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." Never give up. No matter how hard things get or how empty you feel or how hopeless things may seem- don't you dare give up. 

(Also, don't let this post discredit all the amazing things my ex did for me in our time together because the 8 months we had together were filled with amazing times and in our time together he was so great to me. Sometimes things and people just change)